Indica Vs Sativa: What is the difference?

One of the more common questions that comes up with new marijuana aficionados is “Which is better: Sativa or Indica?”, but perhaps a better question would be “Which strain is right for me?” For the average smoker, many simply never had the chance to learn, while some may have never even realized there were distinct differences. Either way, if you’re looking to find out more about Indica vs. Sativa, you’re not alone.


While at one time Cannabis Indica was thought to be a sub-species of Cannabis Sativa, the opposite is now thought to be true. Cannabis Sativa was discovered first, leading people to originally believe that Indica was a sub-species. Since then, they have been classified as their own species with different sets of sub-species. Cannabis use has been recorded historically in different regions across the world, going back as far as 6,000 B.C in China, and 8,000 B.C Taiwan. Although these areas had the earliest recorded uses of Cannabis, the strains would eventually make their way down into the Middle East and all across the world. 

How They Grow

Historically, Cannabis Indica often grows in colder climates. The length of time it typically takes for Indica to mature is much shorter than Cannabis Sativa. This is partially due to the fact that a Sativa plant can grow more than 15 feet tall, while an average Indica plant tend to grow much shorter and have bushier leaves.The optimal temperature for growing either plant is 24 – 30 degrees Celsius(75-86 Fahrenheit). These plants require a lot of light to survive and thrive, somewhere around 12-16 hours. The dark cycles are very important for the plants as well; studies have shown that the dark cycle plays an important role in the plants budding. Plants that do not get sufficient darkness will show signs of decreased photosynthetic response, lack of vigor (drooping), and reduced vascular development. The dark cycles vary depending on the strain; Sativa’s may require up to 13 hours, while Indica’s may require as little as 8 hours. The fact that a Sativa uses less chlorophyll is reflected in the amount of sunlight that is appropriate for the plant. The way these plants grow is an indicator as to why they thrive in warmer climates, such as the Middle East and Asia. With the option of growing lights, marijuana can be grown all across the world now, but before that, it was a lot more uncommon for marijuana to be found in the more northern climates(except for very specific strains, which we will get to later).

The High

Sativa is known as a daytime weed. It’s effect’s usually energize and invigorate, and the high is thought to be more psychological than bodily. This strain can help inspire creativity and rapid thinking.

Indica, in direct contrast, has a greater effect on the body. It will often make the user feel more sleepy, and gives the user a more relaxed, warm, bodily high. 

THC and CBD:

THC and CBD are the main cannabinoids that act on the body. They effect the user in different ways:

THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is a psychotropic substance, which acts on the brain, and produces a mental high. It is known as a mild hallucinogen. 

CBD or cannabidiol is non-psychoactive, and does not produce a high. . CBD is more often used for physical ailments such as pain, nausea, inflammatory bowel disease and migraines, and is also known to prevent seizures. 

Higher doses of THC are often found in Sativa while higher doses of CBD is often found in Indica.

People who want the effects of CBD without the THC high will often opt to get CBD oil, which you can either smoke or ingest orally. Usually people that make CBD oil will use an Indica or Indica Dominant hybrid that has a high percentage of CBD in it. 

But now you may be asking: what is a Hybrid?


Hybrids are a combination of both Sativa and Indica strains. They may be Indica Dominant or Sativa Dominant, or be a close mixture of the two. The majority of strains will be bred as hybrids to maximize the strengths from each strain.

Another less popular strain known as Ruderalis has even been used in hybrids. 


This strain is lesser known because of it’s minimal THC content, however, it does have a few strengths that make it unique, including:

• It can grow in harsh climates

• It is an auto-flower strain: which means it produces buds based on it’s age, regardless of how much light it gets. 

Because of this auto-flower feature, many growers have blended the ruderalis in with their strains to create a faster budding strain.

Negative Effects of Marijuana

Let’s start with the obvious one; smoking it. While there are other options available, smoking marijuana is still the most popular way to consume it, and the legalization of edibles only came after the legalization of marijuana itself, which made smoking it that much more common. As edibles, sprays, and oil’s are now readily available, people who are worried about COPD or other respiratory issues can eliminate that risk by opting for one of the other options. Memory impairment is also a growing concern, especially for younger users. A study in 2011 showed that use of marijuana in adolescents is more likely to cause severe and permanent memory impairment, which is why the drug has a minimum age requirement. Other effects such as dry mouth, dizziness, and an increased appetite which may cause over-eating usually only effect the individual while they are on the substance, but the after effects of over-eating may be permanent. 

Now you know the effects of the strains, so deciding which one’s you’ll go for should depend on what you’re wanting to use it for. Is it for recreational, creative use? Is it to help you get to sleep?

Whatever you use it for, remember that there are many different strains that contain different levels of THC and CBD. Use discretion when you are choosing your first strain or other products to suit your individual needs.

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